Friday, July 3, 2015

Kríuvötn, the arctic tern lakes


I’m up at 6am, the walls of the guesthouse are thin and I jump in the shower just before the others wake up. There’s just one shower for all 5 rooms on the downstairs floor (at least 10 guests unless some rooms have more than 2 beds). Breakfast is nice with fresh do-it-yourself waffles, although I really make a mess of the first one before I get the hang of it. I’m on the road at 9:30 and it’s beautiful weather. Mostly sunny, no wind. 

My goal today is the Kríuvötn (arctic tern) lakes. I hike into Litlidalur valley and follow a well-worn sheep trail along the river up to the pass. From there the trail is marked with cairns. It’s a really easy, fun trail, never too steep or rocky. After 90 minutes (with lots of stops and picture-taking) I reach the lakes, a smaller and a larger one that are connected. The sun comes out and it’s just perfect for a long nap if it weren’t for the darn flies. They’re quite bad here, always swarming around my head. I feel like Pigpen from the Peanuts who always has that cloud of dirt following him. The lakes are fairly dead otherwise, meaning no wildlife and in particular, no arctic terns. But also no ducks, no bugs, nothing at all. Just ice cold water. The grass has lots of crawly things though, like spiders, which also bother me during my nap. I spend a lot of time up there, it’s really a beautiful spot, but I head back when the clouds roll in and it gets a bit chilly.   
On the way back, I take my time and examine every little flower, rock and types of moss along the way. The lichens covering the rocks are the colors of Gríma the cat – all shades of brown, black and white. There are flowers of all colors and sizes too. On the way back, I see 2 people off in the distance, otherwise there’s not a soul out and about the whole day.

Back to the guesthouse to rest my legs and take a nap, then off to the harbor for some coffee, where I spotted a café the day before. Big mistake. The “café” turns out to be a bar and it stinks like nasty grease and stale booze. Not surprisingly I’m the only one inside, the coffee is good at least but I drink quickly and make my escape. After another spin on my bike exploring roads I haven’t been down before, I return to Stúkkuhúsið for dinner, where I have the fish of the day (it’s actually not cod for a change, but salmon). I finish the day with another dip in the pool. All in all, it’s been a beautiful day with plenty of time to take things slow and enjoy life.